Creating a Classified Ad, What to Include & What to Leave Out

Creating a Classified Ad, What to Include & What to Leave Out

Once a household name in the domain of advertising, classified ads have had a bumpy ride since the boom of digital marketing and various online services for advertising products and services. 

Initially, these ads were newspaper-based, but they’ve managed to make a smooth transition into the online world on various classified directories and websites such as – the UAE classified advertising website.

After a time when classified advertising was shunned on behalf of more flashy, sensational marketing strategies, classifieds reappeared stronger than ever.

If you are ready to ride the wave of success of classified advertising, we’ve outlined the dos and don’ts when creating this type of ad so that your brand can attract the attention it deserves.

Get to Know Classified Ads

Classified ads are rather clear-cut – they have limited space so they require a short, straightforward copy, meaning you’re not given the option to demonstrate your product’s benefits nor praise it with client testimonials. Besides, there’s no room for photographs, and your ad is surrounded by many other ads.

In case you’re now wondering how on earth you can make your classified ad stand out among the crowd – mind you. Here are 6 tips of what should definitely gain entrée into your ad and 4 suggestions on what you ought to avoid at all costs.

What to Write in a Classified Ad

Enticing Headline

Being all-text and succinct, classified ads heavily rely on quality, informative headlines. This isn’t something you simply jot down for the sake of having one – in classified advertising, headlines need careful planning and consideration.

Highlight Your Product’s Benefits

Instead of highlighting your product’s features, try focusing on its advantages. Spend as much time as possible considering the benefits your product/service offers to potential buyers. 

Address Buyers’ Issues

Every product or service represents a solution to shoppers’ problems or satisfaction to their desire. Whether they just want or really need what you offer, a subtle mention of their issue will provide a perfect nudge for them to convert into satisfied customers.

A Must-Answer Call to Action

Writing a powerful CTA is a science of its own. Call to action is a crucial element of any type of advertising, but with classified ads, it really stands out. As classifieds don’t allow much text, your call to action has to be an effective punch line that will persuade shoppers to buy from you.

Provide Contact Info You’ll Respond to

It goes without saying that your classified ad has to include some form of contact information, may it be an email address, phone number, website, etc. Preferably, it’s a good practice you add your name as well, so that people both develop the sense of a personal relationship with you, and know whom to ask for when contacting you as a seller.

But more importantly, provide the contact where you will be available to potential shoppers asking additional questions or wanting to order from you. Don’t write the email address you won’t check often. In case you are unavailable to answer your phone at certain times, note that down.

Write Ad as a Telegram

John Caples, famous advertiser and copywriter, once said that when writing a classified ad, you should write “as if you were sending a cablegram (in the old days) and you had to pay fifty cents a word.” Cut the sentences and leave only what’s crucial for readers to understand the ad’s main ideas.

What to Leave Out of a Classified Ad

Unfounded Claims

Advertising ought to be about promoting the benefits of a product, not selling empty promises. This is especially the case with classified ads, as you’re quite tight on space to begin with. Still, ads should never falsely promote a product or a service because a) it’s immoral and B) you’ll eventually be exposed for your lies.


As we mentioned earlier – benefits, not features. Yes, you are selling your product/service and you should definitely represent it in the best possible light, but not at the expense of heaping up your ad copy with all the positive adjectives you’ve found in Thesaurus.


Avoid bad jokes, lousy puns, cheap comparisons, or any other form of tasteless, cringy copywriting strategies. Your classified ad should be a succinct, bona fide representation of your product, your brand, and you.

Omit Prices

In classified ads, unlike regular display ads, the surroundings shoppers see/read are brimming with competitors. If your competitors are out there in the open with their prices, and you’re not, you can guess whom shoppers will reach out to.

Wrapping Up

Classified ads are a cheap and simple way of advertising your products/services and brand. Their limited length and features force you to make the best of those several lines or a couple of dozen characters your ad is eligible to. Therefore, create your classified ads wisely following these pieces of advice.

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